Date taken: January 19, 2013
Location: Avondale Estates
Date taken: January 19, 2013
Location: East Lake
Date taken: January 19, 2013
Location: Atlanta Underground Market
Date taken: January 6, 2012
My tamale was filled with sweet potatoes, coconut and raisins. It was an interesting combination of ingredients, but tasted quite good. The Atlanta Underground Market is where foodies come to dine and local cooks come to show off their newest creations. The website calls the monthly events “food adventures,” and they certainly are. Find out the secret location, pay $5 at the door, then go exploring to discover and taste what some of your fellow Atlantans have been cooking at home. The portions are small (and only a few bucks), so bring your appetite and adventurous tastebuds.
Location: Beep Beep Gallery
Date taken: January 26, 2013
In 2006, Mark Basehore and James McConnell put together their first art show with a few friends. The show, which doubled as an open house party for their friend’s new Oakhurst home, featured art of people they knew hung on the empty walls of the house.
“I remember receiving lots of feedback about that event,” said Mark. “But people didn’t tell us to host another party. They said ‘You guys should host another art show.”
Mark and James followed their advice. After a few more arts shows at the Oakhurst home and one at a restaurant, the two friends, who met while working together at Aurora Coffee, opened Beep Beep gallery in its present location on Charles Allen Drive in August 2006.
From the beginning, Mark’s and James’ vision for Beep Beep has been to focus not on the desire of customers, but on the needs and creativity of artists, specifically emerging artists.
“Beep Beep’s purpose has to do with providing a place for artists who might not be established to show fresh art,” said Mark., a native of Danielson, Conn., who moved to Atlanta in 2001 to attend graduate school. “Our shows give artists an opportunity to learn some of the basics of a show, what things look like on a wall or what sells.”
Their partnership has expanded from Beep Beep’s monthly art shows to Artlantis, an annual arts festival held the first weekend in June, and now, to opening a bar on Edgewood Avenue. Mark and James both recently resigned from their full-time jobs to focus on Beep Beep and opening the yet to be named bar this year.
“Our partnership works because we avoid talking about the stuff we aren’t actually going to do. We focus on the ideas that we want to see to completion,” said James, at native of Atlanta. “And, I think we balance each other well. The things one of us is good at … the other might not be.”
While both Mark and James grew up with an appreciation for art, Mark has spent a good deal of his adult life making art in some form and searching out new forums for creative expression, including hanging shows at Beep Beep. And, James talks passionately about the value of creating and managing their own projects and visions.
“There is something about being your own boss and creating something people like and respect,” said James. “We’ve created opportunities for ourselves because we could create them for ourselves. And now, with the bar, we are trying to add to it.”
Location: Andretti Indoor Karting and Games
Date taken: January 7, 2012
I don’t know how fast I was going as I drove my go-kart around the track at the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games center in Roswell. I do know that I was glad I was wearing a big, heavy helmet. I know the track’s curves were giving me some trouble … I slowed down each time I neared one for fear of crashing. I also know that a whole lot of people were passing me. I fared better at skee-ball and basketball in the arcade section of the center. But I didn’t fare as well on the rope course — my fear of heights got the best of me. But the Andretti center proved a good way to test my skills (and fears) and not a bad way to spend a cold, January afternoon.
Location: The Solarium at Old Scottish Rite
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Founded in 1919 as the Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children, the building served 50 children from its location in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Atlanta. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the old Scottish Rite hospital was built with sun and light in mind — buildings face South and each wing featured a large sun room/play room. One hundred years later, the hospital campus no longer serves children (Scottish Rite Hospital moved to the north side of the city in the 1970s), but instead is home to a community center, offices, Oakhurst’s seasonal jazz nights and a special events spaces.
Location: Atlanta History Center
Date taken: January 8, 2013
The sounds of Celine Dion’s “Power of the Dream” fill the Olympic exhibit room at the Atlanta History Center. If you were in Atlanta in 1996 for the Olympic Games, the music and all the memorabilia, including street banners, autographed equipment, uniforms and collectible pins, might take you on a trip down memory lane. Has it really been 16 years? The exhibit is just one of several permanent ones at the city’s primary history center, which is tucked away on West Paces Ferry Road and down the street from the governor’s mansion. If you are in the mood for a traditional museum tour … check out the exhibits on the history of Atlanta, golfer Bobby Jones, the Civil War and Southern folk art. On Tuesday evenings in January, the museum is open for free from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Lake Claire
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Location: The Georgia Aquarium
Date taken: December 17, 2012
The Georgia Aquarium is the one place in Atlanta (and the Southeast) where you can touch a stingray, sea star, sea urchin or sea anemone. The aquarium remains a top destination for tourists and Atlantans, so I recommend getting there when the doors open to beat the crowds. You’ll get an up close look at otters, whales, jellyfish and those adorable clown fish. Stare awhile at the giant walls of fish. Crawl through a tunnel to see the penguins. Watch dolphins propel themselves through the air. Take a family photo on the moving walkway. And, don’t forget the giant gift shop on your way out — stuffed sea animals are pretty cute, too.
Location: Ponce de Leon Avenue
Date taken: December 31, 2012
Location: Atlanta Humane Society
Date taken: December 26, 2012
The numbers speak for themselves: 87 staff members, 800 volunteers, 7,500 adoptions a year. The Atlanta Humane Society is caring for Atlanta’s cats and dogs every day, and providing leadership to the organization’s dedicated staff and volunteers is William Shaheen, who served on the Society’s board for 12 years before becoming its president in 2011.
“Initially, when I was offered the position, I viewed it as life’s second half transition,” said Shaheen, who worked in industrial real estate before becoming the Society’s president. “But I love this organization, and I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. This is a mission-driven organization. You can see the good being done on a daily basis, whether it’s the rescue of an animal from a bad situation or a family walking out the door with a new pet.”
In the past year, the Atlanta Humane Society has made quite a few changes, including opening a new facility in Alpharetta, extending the low-cost neuter program to five days a week and getting rid of the cages in the puppy room.
“There are a lot of great non-profits in this city that serve people, but for some reason, maybe because they can’t speak for themselves, I feel drawn to take care of animals,” said William. “I want to be an advocate for their welfare.”
Williams’ first childhood pet was a Saint Bernard. As an adult, he fell in love with Rottweilers and has always owned at least one, including the three he has now – Hannah, Cane and Lilly. William’s friends often tell stories about his love of animals, including the fact that at social gatherings they are most likely to find William off somewhere playing with the host’s pets.
“There’s a lot of joy in owning a pet,” said William. “You can have a rough day and your dog is still glad to see you. The stress of the day melts away when you play with a pet. For me, my greatest clarity comes when I go run with my dogs. Without them, the clarity isn’t there. There is something about the connection you have with a pet that goes beyond words.”
Learn about the resources and services offered by the Atlanta Humane Society at www.atlantahumane.org.
Location: The Varsity
Date taken: December 17, 2012
No Atlanta blog or list of places to visit is complete without The Varsity. The restaurant has long been a favorite of visitors, Georgia Tech tailgaters and natives (yes, my grandparents used to head to The Varsity when they were dating). When you step up to the long row of registers, know you’ll be asked “What’ll ya have?”. And, I recommend placing an order for a Frosted Orange, onion rings and chili dog (the grilled pimento cheese is pretty good too). Opened in 1928, The Varsity has been a unique place for many reasons — the world’s largest drive-in, the addition of the “lunching pad” and rooms set up with televisions before they were commonplace in homes or businesses. If you dine at The Varsity, you’ll walk out with a little taste of Atlanta history and maybe your very own paper Varsity hat.
Location: Atlanta Botanical Gardens‘ Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Date taken: December 9, 2012
Holidays are all about traditions. Your Atlanta tradition might be seeing the lighting of Macy’s Great Tree, picking up a tree from the same lot each year, buying tickets to the Fox Theatre’s Nutcracker or touring Christmas at Callenwolde. Growing up in Atlanta, our family tradition was heading to the downtown Rich’s store to ride the Pink Pig. The Pink Pig is now a train ride in a tent at the Lenox Mall parking deck, but back then it was a monorail style ride located on top of the Rich’s store. We would climb the stairs up to the roof, hop aboard a small pig car and circle the base of Rich’s Great Tree, admiring its surrounding Christmas village. When the ride was over, we stuck our ”I rode the Pink Pig” stickers on our coats and wore them proudly for the rest of the day. If you are looking for a new holiday tradition in the city, check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Holiday Nights event, which is now in its second year. There’s no sticker at the end of the tour, but the lights are bright and plentiful and the event is great for all ages.
Location: Edgewood Avenue
Date taken: December 15, 2012
Socks. Josh Woiderski recommends always having a pair of extra socks at your office. That’s the one thing that’s usually forgotten when packing for a long trip or in Josh’s case … a trip to work. Josh is a run commuter. He runs approximately five miles every morning (then again every evening) from his home in Kirkwood to his job downtown at the Department of Justice. The commute takes him about 40 minutes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Josh, a Michigan native who has lived in Atlanta since 2004. “Being able to get to work without having to rely on an automobile or public transportation gives you a sense of accomplishment. At first, that’s the mental hurdle to overcome, knowing that you can do it. For me, it’s a way to exercise daily without sacrificing family time. And, running is the best way to explore Atlanta. You can stop and check things out, have conversations with people and stumble upon interesting things.”
Josh, who has two young sons, started running regularly while he was in the Army. Previously, a bike commuter, Josh saw run commuting as an opportunity to get a great cardio workout doing something he was going to do every day anyway — commute. “For awhile, my co-workers did think I was weird for doing this, but now they are used to it,” said Josh.
So how does the practical part of run commuting work? Josh irons and folds his clothes and packs them in the backpack he runs with. He recommends leaving shoes and belts at the office for less weight to carry. Once arriving at his office, Josh changes clothes and washes off (using a combination of soap, water and baby wipes) and starts his work day.
Josh estimates that there are around a dozen run commuters in Atlanta — people who might use some form of transportation (car, bike, MARTA, etc.) but make running a part of their way to get to work each day. Washington D.C., with it’s flat landscape and great public transportation, is the nation’s top city for run commuting. In Atlanta, Josh is working to help others figure out how to run commute effectively and easily. He started The Run Commuter blog, where 10 contributors from across North America offer tips, advice and stories. For example, listing the best waterproof backpacks and reminding people to pack socks.
Check out Josh’s The Run Commuter blog for tips and ideas on run commuting.
Date taken: December 2, 2012
Concerts. Bed races. Beach volleyball. Beer festivals. Food festivals. Cirque du Soleil. The 138 acres now occupied by Atlantic Station have seen a lot of changes in the past 100 years. Opened as the Atlantic Steel Mill in 1901, this Westside neighborhood is now a tourist destination for shopping (only IKEA for hundreds of miles) and dining. And, for locals, it’s a space to live (buy or rent) and work (Creative Loafing’s offices are here) and attend a variety of events. If you can navigate your way in and out of the massive parking deck, it’s a great place to spend an evening.
Location: Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta truck
Date taken: December 8, 2012
What’s the first thing any kid (or adult) wants to do when they receive a new bed and mattress? Run and jump on it, of course. That’s exactly what one 7-year-old boy did on a December Saturday afternoon. The apartment he shared with his mother and older brother was practically empty … except for two air mattresses, a television, a chest of drawers and a clock on the wall in kitchen. When volunteers from the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta brought in two twin beds for his room, the first thing he did was run across the room and jump on the new bed. Each year the Furniture Bank provides essential furniture to more than 3,000 families moving out of homelessness, battling HIV/AIDS or fleeing domestic violence. On this Saturday afternoon, more than 30 Atlantans volunteered their time to help deliver new beds to 81 kids in need … kids in need of a comfortable place to sleep.
Location: Castleberry Hill
Date taken: December 14, 2012
Cameron Adams looks for things he hasn’t seen before and might not see again. The Atlanta fashion blogger and creator of Atlanta Street Fashion strolls the sidewalks of Atlanta looking for surprising pops of color, a good old fashion sense of taste, outfits carefully coordinated from head to toe and elements of a person’s wardrobe that show a unique sense of style. Most days of the week, Cameron heads to Atlanta’s most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in search of fashion — Little Five Points, Fairlie-Poplar, Virginia-Highlands (weekend afternoons), Midtown (weekday lunch hours) and even Oakland Cemetery.
“I’m really interested in people’s individual style, so I don’t know that I can place a value on Atlantans’ overall style,” said Cameron, who describes his own style as old fashion and full of layers. “But I have noticed that interesting patterns emerge. For example, on rainy days, I see lots of monochromatic. People seem to wear shades of grey because that’s what they saw outside.”
A full-time photojournalist for the past 13 years and an Atlanta resident for 15 years, the Richmond, Va., native says he has always had an appreciation for fashion. His family often notes one memorable childhood photo of Cameron where his hair is combed perfectly, a pair of sunglasses are tuck in his pocket and there’s a camera around his neck. Things have not changed all that much. He still loves fashion and photography.
“Fashion has a human element,” Cameron said. “People are practicing a creative art form when they leave their homes each day. They are well aware of what they are doing and that people might take notice of them. Through photographing fashion, I have the opportunity to get under the skins of people just for a few minutes and figure out their best selves. Then, I present that best self to the world.”
Check out Cameron’s Atlanta fashion blog Atlanta Street Fashion at http://www.atlantastreetfashion.blogspot.com.
Date taken: October 13, 2012
If you are working on a “bucket list” or “things to do before I die” list, then I suggest going ahead and adding to it “race a bed.” Each fall, the Furniture Bank’s fundraising event gives Atlantans a chance to do something unique. Jump on a bed. Sure, that’s easy. Make a bed. You probably do that every day. But racing a bed through the streets … that’s one of those things you have to do at least once. So, sign up your team of 5 people (one rider, four racers). Come up with a theme (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bed Thieves, Breakfast in Bed, Bed Bugs, etc.). Then put on your helmets and start running. Yes, helmets are required — beds on wheels move fast. People fall down. People fall off.
Location: David Stephens’ home puppetry studio
Date taken: July 29, 2012
It was a standard fifth grade assignment on the Gold Rush of 1949, but David Stephens felt nervous about standing up in front of the class. So, for his presentation, he decided to try and recreate a little bit of his favorite show, The Muppet Show. David made hand puppets out of paper, turned a table on its side and improvised a show about the Gold Rush. His classmates cheered and laughed. His teacher, Mrs. Harris, was so impressed she had him perform again for another class.
“That was a magic moment,” David recalls. “I thought ‘This is a powerful thing … to be the person who is presenting the magic, entertaining people, getting people to laugh.’ It was an extension of me but not really me.” David grew up mesmerized by Jim Henson’s Muppets from a young age. He would wake up early every Saturday to watch The Muppet Show in syndication at 5:30 a.m., subscribed to Muppet Magazine and frequently drew the show’s characters.
By high school, David was performing puppet shows at libraries, preschools and birthday parties in his south Alabama hometown. Since then, his career has been all puppets (and a little banjo ‒ check out David Stephens and Banjolicious). From performing original works at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts to receiving national awards and grants to working on Sesame Street to crafting handmade puppets, David has come a long way since his first performance in Mrs. Harris’ class.
Location: Eternal flame at The King Center
Date taken: June 26, 2012